Flexibility and Strength for the Hips and Legs

These four flexibility exercises will increase circulation to the joins and improve the range of motion in your hips.

Note: If you experience intense pain with any of these movements, discontinue until you discuss it with your physician.

Hip Flexion

Sit in a chair, facing forward. Holding the seat of the chair with your hands, lift one knee as if you were taking a step. Do not lean forward as you lift your knee. Keep your abdomen pulled in as you lift for support. Repeat with your other leg. This hip flexion exercise builds strength as well as flexibility.

Internal Hip Rotation

Still sitting, spread your feet farther apart. With your feet flat on the floor, tilt one knee toward the other, then let it relax back into starting position. Repeat on both sides.

External Hip Rotation

Rest one ankle on the opposite knee. Lean forward and rest your forearm on the inside of that knee. Lean further forward, pressing your forearm into the knee, hold for a few seconds, and then to starting position. Repeat on both sides.

Hip Extension

Holding onto a table or back of a chair, grasp your foot or ankle. Let your knee dangle straight down. Move your knee backward, then return, repeating on both sides up to 20 times. If grabbing your ankle is too difficult, you can also benefit from simply moving your straight leg backward in the same fashion.

Stretches for Your Legs

Leg Stretches | Walnut Creek MassageIf you’re an active runner, cyclist, or just work on your feet all day, consistent stretching can decrease muscle pain and tension.

Only stretch to the point of comfort, not of pain. If any of these stretches are difficult because of muscle tension, let your massage therapist know you would like to work on releasing that area of your next session. If you experience intense pain with any of these stretches, discuss them with your physician before continuing.

Hamstring Stretch

Stand upright, with your leg straight and your foot resting on a stair or low stool in front of you. Exhale and slowly lean into your straight leg until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat on both sides.

Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with your toes almost touching it. Lean into your hands placed at shoulder height against the wall. Move one leg back only as far as you can keep that foot flat on the floor, but far enough that you can feel a comfortable stretch in your calf muscle when you lean into the stretch. Keep your toes pointing straight forward. Repeat on both sides, holding for 10 to 30 seconds.

Calf Stretch #2

Place the ball of one foot on the edge of a step. Lower your heel of the step to stretch your calf muscle for 5 to 10 seconds. Stretch one calf muscle at a time, alternating legs.

Quad Stretch

Holding onto a table or back of a chair, grasp your foot or ankle. Let your knee dangle straight down. Without leaning forward, move your knee backward to a comfortable stretch, hold for a few seconds, then return, repeating on both sides.